DISCOVER THE ISLAND OF NAXOS
At 169 sq miles (438 sq km)—approximately the size of the Hawaiian island of Molokai or the Caribbean island state of Antigua and Barbuda—Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades. Possibly because of that size, it has an interior with mountain slopes and valleys protected and fertile enough to support more greenery and trees than any of the other Cycladic islands. Mt. Zefs, or Zas, at 1,004 meters (3,294 feet) is also the highest peak in the Cyclades.
Naxos Chora, the main town of Naxos, is a wonderful mixture of Venetian and traditional Cycladic architecture. Above the Cycladic whitewashed houses of Chora stands the imposing Venetian castle, oozing a medieval charm! It has many attractions to please the visitor looking just to relax. There is now a wide selection of restaurants and cafes, many situated to offer fine views of the harbor and sea. There are also some popular beaches not far from the town—the finest being the Plaka Beach. But just wandering the old streets of the town gives you the sense that you are in a truly “lived in” place, so that Hora becomes both a place to enjoy on its own and a base for making excursions around the island.
The Portara, or the Great Door, is essentially a massive marble doorway, that stands proudly as the jewel of Naxos. It lies close to the port, on the islet of Palatia which was once a hill. Back in the ancient times, a strip of land connected the north side of Naxos port to the islet of Palatia. Today, the strip of land has been replaced by a causeway. Myth has it that the islet of Palatia was exactly where Ariadne, the Minoan princess was abandoned by her lover, Theseus after he killed Minotaur on the island of Crete. The Portara of Naxos is located in Chora, just a 4-minute walk away from the central bus station and 10 minutes from a parking lot. It is undoubtedly the island’w biggest Trademark.
For many of the visitors coming to Naxos, Apeiranthos is the most beautiful village of the island. It is located on the mountain with spectacular views of the sea and the “small Cyclades” islands of Koufonissia, Amorgos, Donousa, and Keros. Lovingly called the “Marble Village” by locals and surrounded by lush green valleys and rocky cliffs, the architecture of this unique village has been meticulously preserved and is characterized by its neoclassical mansions, white churches, beautiful squares, and lovely streets and stairways, all made of white marble.
Since Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades, the distances you will have to cover will be quite large, not to mention that due to the mountainous landscape you will have to “navigate” the narrow “snake-like” roads. For this reason you should give yourself plenty of time in order to drive through the island as you cannot drive fast! Following the road around the mountain slopes you will enjoy the spectacular views over the Aegean and if the weather is clear you may see the neighboring island of Paros. Once you arrive at the village of Apollonia you have reached the northernmost part of the island, where you will find secluded and remote beaches such as Amitis, Abram, Agios Mamas, as well as some lovely taverns where you can enjoy fresh fish. However keep in mind that due to the strong northern summer winds, the famous ”meltemia”, most of these beaches will be subject to large waves. From Apollonia you continue to Komiaki, a beautiful mountain village with famous local musicians,which is also the highest village in Cyclades islands and Koronos, a big village with a spectacular view of the lush green valley below.
Beaches in Naxos Greece are different than the beaches in other islands of the Cyclades due to their characteristic length. They are famous for their crystal , and cold water. A best of list is following.
Plaka The famous Plaka Beach is a long, sprawling, strip of white sand with sand dunes behind the beach. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Naxos island. Here you can enjoy the lovely water, a view of Paros and some space.
Agios Prokopios Agios Prokopios is one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. This is a long, golden beach with many watersports and surrounded by plenty of tourist facilities.
Mikri Vigla Mikri Vigla is one of the most famous windsurfing spots in Naxos. The wind is perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing and many watersports centre line this beach.
Agia Anna Agia Anna is a picturesque tourist resort with soft sandy beach and crystal water. Tourism development is advanced in the area, with lovely hotels and seaside taverns.
Aliko There are many coves both sides of Aliko beach and the sea is crystal clear. The unique cedar forest with the sand dunes all over the area create a really exotic environment.